by Irene Taylor
THE national association of department stores and hypermarkets, ANGED, plans to appeal against the calendar of Sunday openings authorised by the Balearic ministry of commerce, industry and energy for this year, which allows them to open on only eight Sundays or bank holidays. A spokesman said that under the law governing opening hours (known as the Montilla law), regional governments are obliged to allow a minimum of eight Sunday/bank holiday openings, and these must be on dates which are of special interest to both consumers and the traders. The Balearic government, however, is accused of choosing a high number of days which are of no general interest in order to keep the small and medium sized traders happy. Small shops are opposed to any form of Sunday opening, alleging that they cannot compete with big stores because of lack of staff and high wage costs.
A spokesman for ANGED said that the government complied with the legislation in form, but did not respect the content of the law.
He quoted as an example that opening was not allowed on January 8, the second day of the sales, but it will be allowed at the end of the month, on January 29. ANGED, acting centrally from Madrid, has won its first legal battle in the matter, as the high court in La Rioja has upheld its claim that the days selected by the regional government did not follow the criteria laid down in the law. The Spanish law says that the days should be set “taking into account the needs of the consumers, and choosing, therefore, dates which are attractive for the public and for the companies.” ANGED says that only five of the days selected in the Balearics are interesting for commerce.

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